How to Improve your Safety Score
On any given day, there are over 5 million trucks and 250 million drivers on the road. Just the number of truck drivers alone is enough to make a small country! This is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) initiative: to help regulate safety on the roads by reducing crashes and fatalities with trucks and buses. However, the FMCSA can’t do it alone; it is imperative that you as a fleet manager or driver know what exactly you need to do to do your part and keep the road safe.
First, a quick primer: the CSA doesn’t actually issue a “score,” although that’s what we call it. Instead, each carrier gets assigned a percentile that ranks its safety. If a driver receives a violation, it goes straight to the carrier- not the driver. This data is then all uploaded online monthly onto FMCSA’s website and is organized into seven different Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs), which includes categories such as driver fitness, unsafe driving, and HOS and HM compliance.
So how can you increase your CSA “score” so to speak? Turns out, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that both your score and the road are in tip-top shape:
Hire wearily; train greatly: If you want to improve your safety scores, it is imperative that you hire drivers who have a good safety record. One way you can do this is by reviewing their PSP records as a part of the hiring process. Just by incorporating this simple step into your standard hiring procedure, since studies show you can reduce your crash rate by 8% and out-of-service rate by 17%.
However, even if you hire well, you’ll still need to conduct ongoing training. There is no such thing as a world without accidents (that’s why they’re called “accidents”), but you can greatly reduce the instances of accidents by investing in a safety training program. Furthermore, systems like the GPSTab Dash Cam can give you greater insight on your drivers’ behaviors with dash cam footage and analytics to address problematic driving patterns.
Go ELD: Thanks to the technological revolution, there is plenty of tech out there designed specifically to keep you safe. Some ELD Solutions such as the GPSTab not only offer electronic logging but provide various safety features as well. For example, the GPSTab Dash Cam provides views from virtually all around your vehicle.
ELDs can also help dispatchers keep a close eye on their drivers and know when they’re reaching their limit. With an app like the GPSTab, everyone can see the exact moment a driver may be more likely to obtain a violation if they keep driving. Finally, a reason ELD’s improve safety is in the logging itself. Turns out that 25% of roadside violations are due directly to “Outdated Logs.” However, electronically logging hours in real time as they drive virtually eliminates this issue.
Maintain, Maintain, Maintain: Of all roadside violations that affect your CSA score, almost half - 41% to be exact- are attributed to maintenance issues. Studies show that broken lights are the single most common roadside violation, and tires are the second highest violation. To make matters worse, these two types of violations are weighted heavily, which means it can greatly skew your CSA score downward. On the other hand, these violations can be easily avoided by implementing a preventative maintenance schedule. By inspecting your cars periodically before anything happens to it as opposed to only providing maintenance when something breaks down, you ensure your driver gets a surprising maintenance violation again. Again, one of the best ways to do this is through an ELD solution. For example, you can make sure your drivers complete pre and post-trip inspections, and use your GPSTab to submit paperless DVIRs, which are then immediately uploaded to a maintenance dashboard.